Meander Along the Rhine & Mosel With the Farmers
A traveler photo gallery of highlights from their Romance of the Rhine & Mosel River Cruise
By Marilyn & Jim Farmer, 29-time travelers & Vacation Ambassadors, Altoona, Kansas
February 23, 2012
Our Romance of the Rhine & Mosel River Cruise began in Antwerp, Belgium— meandering through Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France, and ending in Switzerland. This was our 27th trip with Grand Circle, and was led by our excellent Program Director, Rita. It was a splendid itinerary, with fascinating and beautiful things to see around every bend in the river. Here are some of the highlights of our River Cruise:
Antwerp, Belgium is located on the Schelde River. It has a well-preserved Old Town, built around the Grote markt, and graced by the lovely old town hall and beautiful guild houses. The spires of the Cathedral of Our Lady can be seen from afar. Antwerp was once a fortified town, but nothing remains except the Steen, which is a huge fort located between the river and the old city center. FYI: The cherry beer in Belgium sure is good.
We loved Willemstad, Netherlands, a small, picturesque town located along the North Sea. We saw our first windmill of the trip in Willemstad, and enjoyed walking around the town—and even up to the bunkers that were part of the German defenses to protect Europe during World War II. There was a path along the fortification at the top of the town, and we were able to almost circle the whole town and enjoy all the views from there.
It was a bright and sunny day when we visited Kinderdijk, Netherlands. What a joy to behold the 19 windmills, which were built around 1740 to save the area from flooding. These windmills have been well preserved, and have been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the windmills are still used, and they are all lived in. The main waterworks are now mostly provided by two diesel pumping stations that are near the entrance to the windmill site.
Our next stop was Nijmegen, Netherlands, located near the German border on the Waal River near the confluence with the Rhine. It’s 2,000 years old, and the oldest town in the Netherlands. Nijmegen is the site of an important battle during World War II, in which the city was heavily damaged with the exception of the town center—which was remarkably unscathed. Jim and I walked up to the highest point in the city to see the ruins of Charlemagne Palace and the Chapel of St. Nicolas, which overlooks the river and was built in 1030.
Sailing down the river, we arrived at Bonn, Germany. Bonn was the provisional capital of West Germany from the years following World War II until Germany’s reunification in 1990. Bonn is a very big city, but our boat was docked near the University of Bonn’s campus, and after walking through that area, we were in the old city center of Bonn. Among the things we saw was the historic center of Bonn, where there were lots of places to buy really great food, as well as the cathedral area.
Cochem, Germany is a little town of under 5,000 people and lies on the left bank of the Mosel River. The town has lots of half-timbered buildings and it’s a delightful place for a stroll. Our river ship was docked in front of the historic mustard mill (Senfmuhle), built around 1810 and the last of its kind in Europe. Of course, Jim and I bought some mustard (and it’s very good).
From Cochem, we sailed away in the sunshine along the Mosel River towards Bernkastel, Germany. We sat outside on the top deck of the boat and watched the lovely scenes go by as we cruised down the river.
Strasbourg, France is the official seat of the European Parliament. We did a sightseeing tour by boat along Strasbourg’s canals, where we admired the city’s Renaissance architecture, and the picturesque Petite-France area with all of its half-timbered houses. We walked to the town center where one of Europe’s great Gothic cathedrals is located.
Our last port of call on our Rhine & Mosel River Cruise was in Basel, Switzerland. We were provided a full day trolley pass, so along with seeing the old town center, Jim and I rode the entire “around the city” circuit on the trolley, and saw the residential area. This photo includes our favorite friends from the trip. We enjoyed dinner with them every evening.
Have you explored the world’s waterways on one of Grand Circle’s river ships? I’d love to hear about it. Share your stories with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.